Petrol prices reach four-year high

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If you thought the last time you filled up was too expensive, then you’re probably right.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) quarterly fuel cost monitoring report has revealed that prices have hit a four-year high in the five largest capital cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Average petrol prices rose by seven per cent in the last three months, hitting a four-year high of around 145 cents per litre (cpl), the ACCC reports.

This is in contrast to the steady decline in prices from 2013 to 2017.

“The major factors driving higher prices were an increase in international crude oil and refined petrol prices, and a lower AUD-USD exchange rate,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

The consumer watchdog also said that gross margins petrol retailers are obtaining are adding to the pricing pressure. In the 2017-18 financial year, average gross indicative retail differences (GIRDs, or basically, the retailer’s margin) was 12.4cpl across the five capital cities.

The ACCC said that this margin was 4.3cpl higher than the average in real terms over the last 16 years.

“Current gross retail margins in the five largest cities are now over 50 per cent above the 16-year average since the ACCC began tracking this data,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC found that Brisbane motorists continue to pay the highest price for petrol of the five major cities, and have paid the highest prices for 18 of the last 24 months.

The report found that 45 per cent of the price of petrol is attributed to ‘Mogas 95’ – or the petrol price itself – while 39 per cent goes to taxes and 15 per cent goes to retailer costs and other margins.

The full report can be found via the link below:

What international factors are at play when it comes to petrol prices?

Australia is heavily reliant on foreign countries to supply crude oil and refined petrol. This means we are at the mercy of international suppliers and those in the ‘Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ – or OPEC for short.

The ACCC cited a cut in production as a key driver in increased petrol prices in Australia.

“The OPEC cartel in particular continues to have a damaging effect on Australian petrol prices. In late-2016 OPEC, and some other crude oil producing countries, agreed to cut production. This restricted supply into the market, which has clearly started to bite through steadily increasing petrol prices in the past financial year,” Mr Sims said.

“A weaker Aussie dollar has also increased costs for wholesalers buying petrol for the Australian market, which flows through to consumers who pay for this at the pump.”

As to how motorists can save, the ACCC has advised customers to look at free fuel price apps or websites to find the lowest prices in their area, and to avoid buying in cyclical peaks.

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